General African Cichlid Discussion • peacocks not showing color

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peacocks not showing color

Postby mattleec » Thu Feb 22, 2018 6:26 pm

i have a 75 gallon mixed tank with 57 fish in it including the fry. only a few are near full size. most are around 2-3 inches. all bought since june 2017. the overcrowding does help with aggression. I have had to remove a few problem fish but overall they all get along quite well. there is the usual chasing away from territory but nothing very aggressive and no one is getting picked on other than each time new fish are added, for about a day or 2 everyone does some chasing but it seems to be like reestablishing the hierarchy. the big electric blue hap and all 3 of my bumblebees have always helped keep the peace and break up any fights right away. problem fish so far have always been due to the individual fish's personality rather than the type.

so here is my problem. most of the peacocks are no longer showing much if any color. they were very brilliant at 1st but after a few months the color is gone or changed to drab coloring. 2 of the most recent ones lost their coloring within a few weeks. several of the males are among the more aggressive fish in the tank but none of those are showing their color except for one. the only one's showing their full color are the jacobfreibergi (1.5 inches), green peacock with a blue head (3.5 inches), ob peacock that is blue and orange mixed coloring (2 inches) and a ob peacock with a lot of black and red mixed (1.5 inches). of those 4 peacocks only the ob blue and orange mixed coloring shows aggression. the other 3 are quite peaceful. we have been told that having a female in the tank can cause all the peacocks to lose their color. I would like to know if its having a female peacock or having any female fish in the tank including the other types. I plan on removing some fish at some point as its not bad now that they are mostly small but the tank will not be enough space once they are all full size. (one of the local stores will buy them at half the retail price). some fish I'm quite attached to and some I'm not as attacked to so knowing if the issue is all female fish in general or just female peacocks will help determine which fish to remove. thanks for any input.

here is the breakdown of fish in the tank:

electric blue hap x 4. (1 adult male that is the tank boss. 1 adult female that looks to be carrying eggs again. 2 fry about 4 months old now. the male doesn't always let the fry in his territory but is very gentle when he wants them out and looks after them In the tank. the female that had them died from illness in tank a while back)
yellow lab x 4
acei x 4 (pretty sure at least 1 male and 1 female but not sure on the others)
electric blue johani x 2
kenyi x 2 (1 male and 1 female)
socolofi x 1
rainbow shark x 2
bumblebee x 3 (2 definite males and 1 with no egg spots but its 1/3rd the size and bought at same time so I'm assuming female)
demasoni x5 (4 that I'm pretty sure are male and 1 definite female as it was carrying eggs at one point)
ob peacock x 6
sunshine peacock x 2
blue head with red body peacock x 1 (this one wanted to be the tank boss when I added him and clashed with my blue hap but lost to the blue hap and after that his coloring changed to a drab reddish brown overall and he hides most of time even though never picked on)
blue peacock with red behind the head x 1
green peacock with a blue head x 1
tan head and grey body peacock x 1 (local fish store when shown picture thinks this one might be female. also my electric blue hap seems to try to mate with this one)
yellow head with silver/white body (sometimes the body is blue) and black line running horizontal down the middle peacock x 1 (i'd like to now if this one could be female as color and pattern aren't far off from the one listed above)
rusty x 1
exasperatus x 3 (hard to find info on these but im pretty sure 2 male and 1 female due the the blue coloring on 2 of them)
syndontus lace catfish x 2 (1 is twice the size of the other and got them at the same time so im assuming that one is male. its also a very dominant fish. doesn't try to hurt anyone but will shove anyone out of its spot and has the size to do so. my big electric blue hap and it always want the same territory. the hap is usualy shoving him around or biting him to get him out of the cave they both want. now they have seperate spots next to each other and the hap has built a wall of rocks about 3 inches high between their territories.)
synodontus multipunctatus catfish x 1
bricardi x 2
livingstoni x 1 (white and brown)
elongatus x 2
red fin borleyii x 1
jacobfreibergi peacock x 1
afra x 1
deep water hap x 1
ice blue zebra x 1
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Re: peacocks not showing color

Postby DJRansome » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:45 pm

Too many fish to start. For a standard rectangle 75G that is 48 x 18, think in terms of:
Four species at 1m:4f of each for mixed gender
Twelve adults that mature <= 6" for all male. No look alikes.

I would remove mbuna to get the best peacock color.
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Re: peacocks not showing color

Postby mattleec » Thu Feb 22, 2018 8:51 pm

I would get rid of the peacocks before I would get rid of any of the mbuna. as for the male and female, it was not the intention of having female fish in the tank to begin with but its often hard to tell the difference at the store and with the fish being young when bought. also most store employee's are not knowledgeable enough to help.
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Re: peacocks not showing color

Postby DutchAJ » Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:07 pm

I’d follow DJR’s advice and get rehome most everything, keeping your 4 favorite mbuna and going for the 1/4 ratio. I wouldn’t keep auratus as one of the 4 if it was me.
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Re: peacocks not showing color

Postby mattleec » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:12 am

sorry this is kinda long and have been working on it a while and tired while doing so.

the auratus are the ones that get along best with everyone. I've had them years ago in a mixed tank like this and they did great also. they can be aggressive but it just depends. the 1st one I got this time wanted the whole tank to himself and was very aggressive when he was about 1 inch long. I got a 2nd one and they fought for 1 day then seemed to be best of friends. they are usually together and get along great with the haps. almost zero aggression on those now and they are about 3 inches now making them bigger than most of the fish I have. kinda like people that are bullies. the only was to fix that is to have someone stand up to them or remove them. they are actually some of the few fish that my tank boss lets hang around him and share his territory with. those along with 1 particular yellow lab and 3 of the peacocks. i've read online that mbuna and hap never get along but I think some people just had bad experience with it. fish, like people have individual personalities and some just don't get along where others do. it takes some trial and error and I don't mind removing any fish that poses a problem to the rest. kenyi have been the hardest ones to deal with. I had to remove 2 that caused trouble. 1 female was super aggressive and then I had one that I thought was female but turned out to be male. I found out once it got bigger and the color started changed. that one fought with my existing male and I decided to remove it. the 2 I have left are peaceful. I also got rid of 1 acei that wanted to fight with one of my others. I think it was 2 dominant males and after removing the one, they swim as a school now. got rid of 3 rainbow sharks due to the larger 2 harassing the smaller ones and harassing some cichlids as well. got rid of a pleco I started this tank with as the demasoni and yellow labs in particular but others as well would not stop harassing it. I had read online and had people that raise fish say that large angelfish can be kept with cichlids as long as they are larger than the cichlids but they got swarmed by the yellow labs. lasted 1 day and gave the last one away. I even had some zebra danios in the tank at one point. it was recommended to help with aggression as they act as targets but are supposedly tough skinned and fast enough to get away. basically a distraction to keep the more expensive fish from being picked on. I figured it was worth a shot as I was having trouble with a kenyi at the time that I just could not seem to ever catch although I eventually did and sold it. btw if anyone is thinking of trying that, It didn't work for me. the only fish that took any interest in it was my big electric blue hap which is one of my favorite fish in the tank and never gives me problems. he ate 4 in the 1st week. the last 2 got eaten about a month later. i've had a venestus in the past that did not get along with anyone in the tank and had to go as well. the goal was to have an all male tank that get along with each other. of course some are hard to tell at early age and turned out to be female. that's fine with me as long as it doesn't lead to fish killing each other out of competition and some of the known females are attractive fish so look fine in the tank. some of them like the kenyi and yellow labs don't seem interested in breeding which is great as I don't need lots of extra fish even though I could sell them. I've also read that not to keep a lot of the fish I have together solely because they will crossbreed. that's not an issue for me especialy when the types they would crossbreed with are all male.

it is an issue if the fact that there are female fish in general in the tank affecting fish coloring whether or not they have a mate. that's what I need to know. a few of the peacocks are quite unique looking and I would love for them to have the color back. If I can do that by removing some or all female fish in the tank then that's what I would do. although some of the male peacocks will need to go as well just because we ended up with too many fish and we have our favorites. if the removal of the female fish of other types is not an issue then I would probably end up removing a majority of the peacocks first as having a lot of drab looking fish isn't what I'm looking for. if I can get the peacocks to start showing their colors again then that would factor in to which of those I would remove to lighten the population.

I wouldn't mind some of the fish types having fry as we would like to raise some for the experience of it and have been quite attached to the 2 electric blue haps that were the only survivors of their group as the mom held them almost 2 months before releasing them. probably malnourished. I had to catch her to get them released. been enjoying watching them grow. the sharks seem to like them a lot and used to hover over them as if trying to protect them when they were smaller. other than that though I'm not interested in breeding them so if the females need to go then I can do that.

it was months of cohabition before any of the peacocks started losing color and there were certainly female fish during that time. 2 things changed around that time they started losing color. #1 is illness in tank and a bunch of fish died. many of the ones I have now were added after that. #2 the electric blue haps started mating again (different female as his 1st one died but we had 3 originaly which turned out to be 1 male/2 female and this time the male also seemed interested in one of the peacocks so I'm thinking that if that is a female peacock then that could potentially be the issue and would like to know if removal of that particular fish could be the solution to having the males get their color back. the only one that lost color prior to that was a male peacock that wanted to be boss and he lost and became submissive. that one I plan on likely removing anyway as I think It would be happier In a different tank.

water still hasnt cleared up from the last time medicine was put in around thanksgiving due to illness in lost some fish. its not green anymore but its cloudy white now and wasnt before. have a brand new canister filter replacing the original one as it stopped working and have tried different things but only recently having some luck with it. local store had us add some new stuff to the filter and its no longer getting worse. 50% water change when we added it cleared up a lot of it. another week away from doing another water change. btw the water tested as being perfect for most of the time its been cloudy. have also cut back feeding to once daily from twice daily going on about a month now. i have less fish now. when i reduced the feeding, they ate all the 3 chinese algae eaters i have had for 6 months plus 4 new ones and 4 of a smaller type of algae eater i had recently added for 11 in total. we had been trying different things and thought maybe algae issue so were trying to correct it but turns out thats not it anyway. we had even been told that perhaps we were overcleaning so it was recommended to dont touch the tank or change anything in the filter for 1 month straight but that only ended up worsening the issue.

also if anyone knows for sure how large bumblebee's get that would be helpfull. store said 6 inches. online it varies from 6-9 inches depending on source. 9 inches is kinda large for the tank size and if thats accurate size i'd probly only keep 1 of those. I've had some before but hurricane rita wiped out the tank back then so never got to see just how big they get. i got 3 in july and the largest is now about 6 inches. he just surpased my electric blue hap in size making it the largest cichlid in the tank. the only fish larger right now is one of the syndontus lace catfish.
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Re: peacocks not showing color

Postby DJRansome » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:27 am

Crabro size between 7 and 8 inches is not exceptional in captivity according to Cichlidae.

It is typical for juveniles to be fine together for 6-12 months, and then start having aggression problems (including loss of color) when fish are spawning age.

Peacocks do not need females to show full color, but they do need to feel secure and even dominant...the fish on the low end of the aggression spectrum (species or personality) are going to have the least color in your tank.

I'm not sure I hit all your questions, but hopefully I hit some of the major ones.
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Re: peacocks not showing color

Postby mattleec » Mon Feb 26, 2018 5:17 pm

I sold 10 of the fish on Saturday. 8 peacocks that were not showing color. I kept all the ones that were showing their full colors. I missed my count earlier and didn't notice til I was catching them. I actually had 1 more ob peacock in the tank than I thought. without the coloring they looked the same instead of each one distinctive when they had color. one of them started showing a bit of color when it was in the tank at the store and I was able to pick it out specifically as one that I had liked before it lost color. also removed one male bumblebee. the less dominant of those just due to the size they will reach full grown. removed 1 elongatus to prevent to prevent conflict between 2 that wanted to be the dominant one. I only kept 2 of the peacocks that were lacking color as they are the most distinctive when they had it and I'm hoping they will get it back.

results so far at that 1 of the ones I kept that had no color is showing a bit of color now. not much but about 10% of what it had originally. I read online that it can take up to a month to get color back so ill give him time and see. also some fish that had no interest in the caves and ornaments in the tank previously are liking them now. the acei for example that I had when I started this tank never showed any interest in having any territory even when the tank had very few fish in it. now they have several spots they seem to want. also one of the peacocks and the largest bumblebee I have are showing more interest in the caves that other fish had before (and those fish still have those spots). bumblebee is showing a bit more dominance and is often taking territory from my largest catfish. those 2 now occupy the same spot about 50% of the time each.

more will need to be removed in the future. especially once they get bigger but its harder to decide which ones now. will probably end up removing 1 more bumblebee and the livingstoni eventually just due to size when full grown. depends on how big they end up getting. will just have to wait and see. I like those and they are very friendly but I'm just worried they are just gonna end up too big for that tank especially as ill have plenty of other fish in it. if the 2 peacocks that aren't showing full color now don't get it back after a while then they will probably be removed. perhaps 1 of the yellow labs once they get bigger. those are all about 2-3 inches right now so not taking up much space yet.

we have some favorites that are pretty much immune to being removed unless they become too aggresive or otherwise cause problems in the future. unfortunately that list is most of them and any not on this list we still like quite a bit so will be sad to see any go but as they grow and it becomes less and less space its gonna be a necessity that needs to be addressed sooner or later.
electric blue fryeri--at least the male and the 2 babies that we have grown attacked too. having fun watching them grow.
electric blue johani
kenyi--the male one at least
rainbow shark
bumblebee--the largest one--definitely male
green peacock with blue face
exasperatus--the largest of the 3 we have
synodontus lace catfish--the largest of the 2 has a interesting personality.
synodontus multipunctatus catfish
bricardi--these have been the most fun to watch especially with their engineering projects. these seem to be highly intelligent.
deep water hap
ice blue zebra
acei--at least the largest 2 that we bought 1st.
yellow lab--at least 2

2 fish that i am concerned with removing i would like input on if anyone has had experience with those. one is the female electric blue fryeri for the sake of not ending up with lots and lots of baby fish as the male is always wanting to mate. when the 1st female died, the male seemed like he was very depressed for a long time before finaly showing interest in this 2nd one that has been in the tank almost as long as the 1st one. im just worried how removing her would affect him. the other one is thes synodontus lace catfish. i have 2 and also 1 synodontus multipunctatus which is actualy a better looking fish. i have grown attacked to the larger lace one though. both types I've read can get pretty big and i have read that they are best kept in groups of 3 or more for any mix of synodontus mostly due to competition. i like the synodontus multipunctatus enough that i have no concern keeping it full grown (its only about 1.5 inches right now so will be a while). for the sake of not have the tank too overcrowded though, would it be ok by itself if i eventualy removed the synodontus lace catfish. looking up online it says they are schooling fish but these fish dont socialize in my tank. there is no conflict between them. each just stays in a seperate area (most of the time) and they mostly stay in their homes until feeding time at which point they just swarm all over each other grabbing food then go back to their own spaces. i started with 3 synodontus lace cats all at the same time less than an inch long each back in September. they are about 6 inches for one and about 4 inches for the other now. 1 died when i had illness in the thank but even small they had their own territory.
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Re: peacocks not showing color

Postby noki » Tue Feb 27, 2018 10:42 pm

Bit long to read through all of this but this is normal for the less aggressive "Peacocks" and "Haps" to not show color when kept with Mbuna. Color is dependent on pecking order.

Also many of your "Peacocks" may have been hormoned for artificial color when small, then the color wore off. A shady practice, but this is normal.
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